Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Without further ado....

... because I already ado'ed long enough (but I've been a-doing and a-doing all this time... mowing, planting, mowing, more planting, mowing, weeding, mowing, etc., etc.)...

Anyway, I am finally finished testing The Menagerie pattern!!! Here are some progress shots I took along the way (that I never got around to showing you):

And now I'd like you to meet Mama Roo and her baby girl, Jodi!

I had a terrible time deciding on which fabrics to use (as usual), since I had no actual kangaroo colors of fleece. I finally went with some pieces that I'd been gifted awhile back in exchange for asparagus. They were scraps, but they went together well, and there was enough to do the job (although there's a seam at the top of the pouch instead of a fold because the piece was too small).

Of course a girl baby couldn't be Joey, so she became Jodi. Ha. Isn't she a cutie pie?

I give this pattern an A+ rating! It is amazing! There is soooo much in it, as you can imagine, with all those animals. But there are basic pieces, and variations to go from there. LiEr has gotten it all down, step by step, to make it easy for you. Just be sure to read all the information at the beginning, before you get to the individual animal instructions. You will need to refer back to this in the making of your animals.

The absolute hardest part of this pattern for me was that there were no seam allowances on the templates (for good reasons), so I had to remember to add my own. This is the first pattern I've ever had to do that with in my 45+ years of sewing! I didn't goof in cutting it out, but being the ultra-conservative piece-layer-outer that I am, trying to get the best layout to save fabric, I was constantly catching myself not leaving room for the seam allowances between the pieces! Ha! But I managed. As for the rest of it... the baby 'roo was a bit fiddly just because it was so small, but not that bad, and everything went together pretty smoothly. The thing I love about sewing with fleece is that it's so forgiving. If your seam is a little off, it doesn't show. :)

I've sent my final notes to LiEr, and she will get the pattern tweaked and up for sale ASAP. You can watch for it on her blog here or in her pattern shop here. I'll update this post, too, when the pattern is ready.

Update: The pattern is now available for purchase!  Read LiEr's important post about it here first, and then you can purchase it here!

I know some of you have been waiting a long time for this pattern, but believe me, it's worth the wait! Enjoy... and I hope I get to see pics of a lot of the animals that are made from it!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Look what I saw last night!

Hi! Sorry for the absence! I'm not done with the pattern test yet, but very close. Early next week it should be ready to go into LiEr's shop, and I'll show you what I've been making! 

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I just had to show you what I saw last night during supper. My place at the kitchen table faces the living room windows, so I often notice things I might not otherwise see. Last night I happened to see a couple of little birds  hopping along a branch a ways up in a tree across the driveway. They almost looked like baby turkeys! I got up for a closer look, and then grabbed the camera and went outside.

Here's what I saw... sure enough - turkeys! And despite them being turkeys (you know how much I "love" them), I have to say that this is one of the cutest sights I've seen in a long time (not counting kittens, of course!). Just look (and click on any photo to enlarge it):

It looks like there's one rebellious little one who just has to face the opposite direction from the rest of the babies - ha!

Look at all those little tail feathers. There are quite a pile of chicks under that mama's wings! I can count at least 7 on the left side, and there is for sure 1 more on the right side. That must be quite a feat getting all those little ones tucked in for the night!

That little forward-facing one appears to be asleep in the photo below. And if you look really closely, you can see another beak hanging down behind the branch. I wonder if they really have to sleep with their little heads hanging down??? Such a precarious way to spend the night!

It's a cool sight to see. But the bad news is that it means there will likely be 8 or more turkeys added to the flock that roams the yard. *sigh*

Monday, June 22, 2015

And the names are.....

Courtney was here last Wednesday, and we selected the names for Rainbow's babies. Big thanks to all of you who suggested names... it made our job so much easier!

First off is our little calico girl... who is now Cinnamon! (Courtney's tongue tends to get tangled around the pronunciation, so maybe she'll revert to Cannelle. Ha!)

The little snowy-white girl is.... Snowy! :)

Her almost-twin brother who's been dipped in gray became Smoke.

And our last little girl, whose name I think is Courtney's favorite, is Clementine!

This is a bonus shot of Cinnamon. Courtney liked the leg wave. :)

It was fun choosing from all the GREAT names! And it's a good thing there are lots of names left over, because Patches' kittens were discovered, and I was lucky enough to get a good photo shoot with them. Here they are, healthy and beautiful:

There are four (that orange tail on the right goes with the orange head you can see), and they're a week older than Rainbow's. One is a calico like Cinnamon, the two gray ones are also calicos but with distinct differences from each other (one very dark gray and the other very striped), and the last one is mostly orange. These babies are very wild, but Patches was kind enough to call them out for me one day so I could take pictures without them even realizing I was something to fear. I haven't seen them since, but I haven't tried too hard, either, because I just haven't had time.

Speaking of time, I'm still not done with the Menagerie testing. Every time I think I'm going to have a block of time to get a lot done on it, about 5 other things jump out at me and need doing. So I've been "making hay while the sun shines" with the mowing, weeding, etc. But I'll keep plugging away. Soon it'll be ready. It has to be... LiEr posted a few days ago that it should be ready in a week or two. There's my incentive! ;)

Monday, June 15, 2015

A busy week ahead

I'm going to be taking a bit of a "blog-cation" this week. I need the time to work on this:

People are waiting (im?)patiently for the pattern, and it's in my hands and has been for a month. It's just that this is such a busy time of year, what with planting, weeding, mowing, etc., etc.... all those outdoor activities that never end all summer. So I've got to eke out some time from somewhere, and I guess the blog will have to be it. It does take time to write posts, and right now it's time better spent working on the pattern. I'm nearly done with the proofreading, but little progress has been made on actually sewing animals (although I don't have to make them ALL!). So I'm going to really push it this week, and my goal is to have it wrapped up by the end of the week. That's my 'goal', at least. You know me... everything always takes longer than I plan for it to, but we'll see.

I may try and get you a sneak peek or two in here, but don't hold your breath. ;)

More details on the pattern here.

Friday, June 12, 2015

It's time to name the babies!

Want to help name Rainbow's latest babies? Here they are, at nearly 4 weeks old:

Yeah, I know... if you were thinking there were 5 of them, you're right. But one of the white ones died, for some unknown reason. The good news there is that we will no longer have trouble telling any of them apart.

Here's the beautiful little calico girl. I'd woken them up, and she just wanted to continue sleeping. :)

See that adorable sleepy little face?

Next is the orange/white one, another female.

She posed quite nicely.

Aww... have another look at that precious face!

Now we have the two white ones. But as you can see, one of them isn't so white anymore. He's the only male, and he's been getting darker right along. The other one looks like she's going to have orange ears, but that's about it for her coloring.

Very white, except for those ears. And very sleepy. :)

Don'tcha just love this little guy's face?!

Yeah, you get another look. And note the dark coloring around his ears. What a cutie!

Soooo.... I'm open to suggestions for names! Toss 'em out here in the comments! Courtney and I will make the final decisions. :)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Big things and "little" things

Soooo.... I'm busy in the house and happen to glance toward the living room windows... and this is what I see!

Josie'd apparently been keeping an eye on them for me.

Weirdo birds!!

Someone mentioned in the comments a few days ago that I noticed the "little things", or something like that. Well, I noticed a little thing (or big, depending on your perspective) that day, and it's one reason I don't like the turkeys on our deck!


Quit laughing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mystery solved

I happened to notice a new (to me) bird a few days ago. I may have seen it before, at the birdbath even, but not for long enough to even take note of what it looked like to try and look it up. This time I got a good look at it. It stayed in the shadows a lot, and being such a dark color, it was still somewhat hard to see, though.

Can you see it?

How 'bout now?

But occasionally it hopped out into the sunshine, and that's when I got my good look. THEN... oh, this is so great... I looked it up on my iPad via my awesome Merlin Bird ID app! It gave me description options to choose, and then it gave me birds to choose from that fit those descriptions... and violà, there was my bird!

It turned out to be a gray catbird. That's a pretty common bird. I'm sure, after googling and listening to their calls/songs, that we've had them around here for years. They make sounds a lot like a brown thrasher, so what I always thought was that bird could've been the gray catbird at times. BUT, it makes one other sound... and that brings me to the mystery that got solved.

For years, I've heard a bird call that sounded like a dying kitten. (If you've ever heard a dying kitten's cry, you know what I mean.) Many times I wondered if it actually was a dying kitten, but I could never find one so figured it had to be a bird. Yep, it was the gray catbird. Now I know! And because they're such elusive birds that also blend into their surroundings because of their dull coloring, I could never see it. But now I have. And this one graced me with a couple of better photos shot from the opened-with-screen-removed bathroom window. :)

I have yet to see the rust-colored feathers under his tail, though. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Easy Macro shots, Part 2

As I was taking a photo of an iris bloom one day, this little bug (later found to be a hoverfly) seemed very busy on the flower. I got a very cool macro video of it actually picking up a tiny raindrop and drinking it - amazing! Unfortunately, I haven't had time to figure out if I can post that type of video file on here or not. Meanwhile, here's a photo of the hoverfly that's what... a quarter-inch long(?). Its irridescent wings were so pretty!

Speaking of bugs, as I bent down to take a macro pic of this tiny less-than-a-quarter-inch weed bud, through the lens I discovered an itsy-bitsy spider very busily spinning a web between this and another bud. I didn't even know such small spiders existed!

Below is a tiny baltimore oriole feather stuck on the oriole feeder:

If you look at the left edge of the feeder below, you can see how tiny the feather was. There's even a fly for comparison.

Here's another fly (upper left corner) on my snow on the mountain bloom. It's not a macro shot, but....

.... this shot is (minus the fly):

In my wildflower bed, the bachelor buttons are beginning to bloom. This is a macro shot of a bud:

Here's the center of the same bud after it opened in the rain:

That's it for Easy Macro shots for now. I'll show you more another time. Hope you enjoyed them, and my apologies for the repeats to those of you who do see them on Instagram.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Easy Macro shots, Part 1

I've taken so many Easy Macro shots with my iPad lately. It's kind of addicting! If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen all these photos, but for those of you who aren't on IG, I wanted to post some here so you can see them, too.

I haven't found a way to easily transfer photos between my iPad and my computer (which is where I have to write my blog posts from). So I either email them to myself or copy them from my Instagram page. Either way is kind of a pain. I suppose I should check out storing photos in "The Cloud" so I can grab them from either device, but I'm not sure how that works... or if I really want to do that. Meanwhile, I'll do it this way... and probably get myself all confused as to what photos are where and which ones I've copied and/or whatever. Ack.

Enough of that confusion! Here are some very close-up pics.....

A clover bloom:

Part of a maple seed next to a screw for size comparison:

Thanks to the overabundance of those same seeds, there are maple seedlings sprouting everywhere. Here's a very tiny one, maybe an inch high, in my moss roses bed:

In the same bed, moss rose seedlings, about an eighth of an inch tall:

This is part of a leaf on an oriental poppy plant:

From the same plant, raindrops on a flower petal:

Can you see why I get addicted to taking these photos?!

More tomorrow.....

Friday, June 5, 2015


One evening during the "golden hour", it was so lovely outside (in other words, not windy) that I wandered around snapping photos. Here are some of the things that caught my eye.

A robin's egg that didn't make it to the nest:

A maple leaf that was full of gall mite nodules:

A closer look at some more of them (kinda creepy, huh?):

An old empty milkweed pod, contrasted against the new spring growth:

Wild phlox Update: A very observant reader discovered that these are not wild phlox but "Dame's Rocket" growing in the ditch (thanks, Jenny!). In my reading, I found that they're an invasive species that crowd out natural wildflowers and should be removed. Hmm... I think I'll leave them there... I enjoy them. ;)

Half a moon:

Rolling hills of new crops:

And I didn't have to walk more than 50 feet for any of them.